Maldon and District U3A recently celebrated its 21st anniversary with a hall full of members, many from the early days as well as more recent recruits, enjoying the afternoon with entertainment from Steve Galler, refreshments and birthday cake.

The inaugural meeting took place in 1998 with 45 potential members attending.

The current membership now exceeds 400 and has 40-plus interest groups.

The celebrations followed the business of the annual meeting, when thanks was given to Brian Johnson, the retiring chairman, for his work over his period of office.

Also present were past chairmen, along with the newly elected one; with the honour of cutting the cake given to Beryl McDonnell, one of the group’s founding members and first chairman.

The incoming chairman is Shirley Macro.

The U3A is a national organisation which provides an opportunity for retired and semi-retired people to come together and share a variety of educational, creative and leisure activities.

The U3A motto is Learn, Laugh and Live. The Maldon and District group has a wide range of interest groups covering subjects such as art appreciation, maritime, luncheon groups, local and general history to more active ones – tenpin bowling, table tennis and croquet.

There is also an active social group which arranges events throughout the year, as well as a theatre group which organises trips to London shows.

The groups are run on a self-help basis with group members sharing their knowledge and talents as well as a well-attended monthly members’ meeting with interesting speakers.